More Students are Added to Notably Long Waitlists, As College Applications Rise and Acceptance Rates Drop to Historic Lows
New York, NY (April 29, 2011) — By May 1, college-bound students across the country and from around the globe will need to notify a specific U.S. college of their intent to attend this fall. While some students will be accepting admission at their top-choice school, still many others will be accepting admission to another school on their list. IvyWise, an internationally recognized college admissions counseling company, and ApplyWise.com, the first online interactive college admissions counseling program, share the following summary of the 2011 admissions landscape.
"There is no one application plan that is right for everyone," says college admissions expert Dr. Katherine Cohen, CEO and founder of IvyWise, an internationally recognized college admissions counseling company based in New York City. "While some students should apply early to increase their chances of admission, others may need to hold off until they can improve their academic profiles, do additional research on the schools they'd like to attend, or even compare financial aid packages."
2011 College Admissions Stats
This admissions cycle has been distinctly different from previous years, as colleges report record high numbers of applicants:
Columbia University (New York, NY) had 34,929 applicants, compared to 26,178 in 2010, an increase of 33.4 percent.
Northeastern University (Boston, MA) had 43,250 applicants, compared to 37,690 in 2010, an increase of 14.8 percent.
Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH) had 13,527 applicants, compared to 9,472 in 2010, an increase of 42.8 percent.
“This ‘application inflation’ is partially due to the fact that in previous years students were only applying to six to eight colleges,” says Katherine Cohen, Ph.D., founder and CEO of IvyWise and ApplyWise.com. “With the increased competition for a limited number of spots at selective colleges, these days, our counselors recommend that students apply to a balanced list of 10-12 ‘good fit’ colleges. While we don’t advise it, we have heard of students who are applying to 20 or more schools.”
As a result of this increase in applications, acceptance rates have dropped at many schools, for instance:
Trinity College (Hartford, CT) accepted 26.7 percent of applicants, compared to 43.15 percent in 2010.
Colorado College (Colorado Springs, CO) accepted 25.53 percent of applicants, compared to 33.61 percent in 2010.
Boston University (Boston, MA) accepted 47.69 percent, compared to 57.97 percent in 2010.
Of those students who applied and were not accepted, some were rejected, while others are stuck in college limbo. With students applying to and, in many cases, being admitted to so many schools, colleges are not certain of who, of their admitted students, will ultimately attend in the fall. As a result, more colleges are waitlisting students who will be considered for admission in the event that these schools need additional students to meet their goals for their incoming freshman classes.
“In some cases, the number of waitlisted students at a college has actually met or exceeded the school’s target enrollment,” explains Cohen. For example:
The University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA) accepted 3,880 of 31,659 students who applied and placed 2,400 applicants on the waitlist this year, for a target enrollment of 2,420 students.
The University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT) accepted 10,865 of 27,149 students who applied and placed 5,689 students on its waitlist this year, for a target enrollment of 3,225.
Villanova University (Villanova, PA) accepted 6,561 of 15,387 students who applied and placed 4,861 students on its waitlist this year, for a target enrollment of 1,630 students.
How Did IvyWise Students Compare?
“We were quite pleased that despite this very tough admissions year, 92 percent of IvyWise students were admitted to one of their three top-choice colleges, a statistic that is relatively consistent with past years,” says Cohen. “We are thrilled to report that our students’ admit rate was better than the overall rate at many selective colleges, including Brown University, Columbia University, Duke University, Fordham University, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University.”
With more college information readily accessible to students, thanks in large part to the Internet, students are able to learn about and become interested in many more schools. This presents a great opportunity for those colleges that may not be as well known as others.
Cohen adds, “There are so many four-year colleges in the U.S. that provide a fabulous educational experience for students. What’s most important is to find a good fit – academically, socially and financially – and to look beyond the 15 or 20 colleges you may already know about. Collectively, IvyWise students were accepted to 99 different colleges this year.”
Getting in Off the College Waitlist
For those students who are still hoping to be admitted from a college waitlist, Cohen advises, “We urge students to send a deposit to their next-choice school by the May 1 deadline to ensure they have a college to attend this fall, and, if they haven’t already, they should write their top choice school today.”
Within that letter, a student should:
Reaffirm his or her interest in attending the college.
State that if accepted, he or she will definitely attend the school—this letter is considered a binding agreement and should only be written to one top-choice school.
Update the school on academics, test scores, honors/awards and activities post-application.
Include a paragraph about why the school is a good fit and how he or she will make an impact on its campus. (Read the school’s newspaper online to learn about current issues/events on campus, and thoroughly review the college’s course catalog and website).
In addition, he or she should:
Send an extra letter of recommendation from a current senior-year teacher that introduces new information or shows growth as a scholar.
Write letters to the colleges that are no longer top choices, withdrawing his or her name from their waitlists, thus opening up a spot for another student who wishes to remain on the list.
So what are a student’s chances of being admitted from the waitlist? In 2010, 34 percent of students who were placed on a school’s waitlist were ultimately accepted, a significant increase from just a few years ago, according to the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC).
Cohen adds, “However, even if a student isn’t attending their top-choice school, he or she should start freshman year off with an open mind and make the most of it. There are many colleges at which students can be successful and happy.”
IvyWise () is an independent educational consulting company recognized for its expertise, student success and collaborative counseling approach. Founder and CEO, Dr. Katherine Cohen and the IvyWise team of expert counselors work one-on-one with students worldwide to guide them through the admissions process. Students receive individualized guidance while also benefiting from the collective feedback of the entire IvyWise team. IvyWise offers families comprehensive counseling and tutoring services for college, pre-K, K-12 and graduate school admissions, with an emphasis on each student's unique personality, interests, values and learning styles. IvyWise counselors help students customize a plan of action, create a balanced list of “good fit” schools, and convey their unique talents and strengths in their applications.
ApplyWise LLC (), co-founded by Dr. Katherine Cohen and Liz Hamburg, is an online college admissions counseling program that includes on-demand interactive modules and organizing tools that give parents, students and counselors everything they need to master the admissions process. The ApplyWise program was developed by college admissions expert Dr. Katherine Cohen and the team of counselors at IvyWise, respected leaders in admissions counseling. In addition to being available directly to consumers, ApplyWise is currently being used by high school guidance counselors, test prep companies, certified college planners and independent counselors to supplement their own efforts.
"The college admissions process can be extremely overwhelming, especially for those who are not familiar with it. IvyWise guided me throughout the entire journey."
Anonymous Student, Brazil
Accepted Early Decision to the Stern School of Business, New York University, Class of 2014
In the News
April 2, 2013 Watch Dr. Katherine Cohen on Huffington Post Live discussing wait list tips and other college admissions information at decision time.